California Gardens - The Year Round Gardening Site

Western Tiger Swallowtail - Papilio rutulus

The Western Tiger Swallowtail can be in our California gardens much of the year. The first flight is often as early as February. In warmer coastal zones the Western Tiger Swallowtail may have three broods or flights go to maturity. The Western Tiger Swallowtail often drinks from moist earth or mud. Large groupings can frequently be found on stream margins or gravel edges of natural styled ponds. Encouraging the Western Tiger Swallowtail to visit your butterfly garden is relatively easy, they are one of the most common butterflies in the Western United States and Canada. They like water and nectar filled flowers such as Apocynum cannabinum or Agapathus Storm Cloud. A complete list of flowers they could visit is too lengthy to compose at this point, but they seem to like blue flowers more than others. The female will lay up to 100 eggs during her lifetime. The eggs are laid singly and are shiny and green. The eggs take as little as 4 days to hatch. Western Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillars will molt 5 times before pupating into adult butterflies. The caterpillars often feed on Sycamore, Fremont Cottonwood, Willows and Alder.

Western Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio rutulus

Western Tiger Swallowtail lands in the duff below a willow tree. High resolution photos are part of our garden image collection.